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From around the world
"A reconciled world in which every civilization could communicate and live in perfect harmony": such was the Utopia pursued by the banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940) as soon as he made his fortune.
In the gardens he had landscaped between 1895 and 1910 as the backdrop to his solitary life, Albert kahn juxtaposed the diverse scenes which reflected the world of his dreams. The Around the World travel grants (1898), the Around the World Society (1906), the Archives of the Planet (1909), the National Committee of Social and Political Studies (1916) and the Social Documentation Center of the French Ecole Normale Supérieure (1920) were all foundations that saw the light of day in his property in Boulogne and shared the same objective: to bring nations closer together, to bring about a deeper understanding of other realities throughout the world.
The Archives of the Planet consist in 72,000 Autochromes and 183,000 meters of film shot in around fifty countries of the world between 1909 and 1931.
© Albert Kahn Museum
14, rue du port
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The French photographer Gabriel Veyre was 25 years old when he was engaged by the Lumière brothers as a cinematograph operator with the mission to show to the world their new invention. From 1896 to 1900 he traveled around the globe (Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Japan, China, Indo-China and Canada) and brought back many films and photographs.
In 1901 he became the photographer and cinematographer of the Sultan of Morocco. Still in contact with the Lumière brothers who have just marketed the Autochrome, Gabriel Veyre became one of its more enthusiastic ambassadors, finding in the light of Morocco an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
He died at the same time as the autochrome plate in 1936, leaving behind hundreds of remarkable images which today are part of the visual memory of Morocco.
© Philippe Jacquier / Gabriel Veyre collection - www.gabrielveyre-collection.org
Fred Payne Clatworthy
Fred Payne Clatworthy was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1875. The son of a minister, the family moved to Evanston, Illinois in 1884. Though trained as a lawyer, Clatworthy‘s passion was photography. In 1905, Clatworthy moved to Estes Park, Colorado, eventually setting up a studio, curio shop, and gallery on it’s main street.
In 1914, Clark Blickensderfer an accomplished amateur photographer introduced Clatworthy to the autochrome process. As John Wood noted in The Photographic Arts (1997) Clatworthy "perfected his art with countless experimentation. He did not make a few autochromes, a few hundred, or even a few thousand, but more than ten thousand."
As Clatworthy became proficient with the process, he soon felt compelled to re-photograph many of the scenes that he had previously photographed in black-and-white. As a practical matter, Clatworthy sold hand-colored versions of his black-and-white images in his studio. These would vary in size, the coloring applied either in watercolor or in oil. He also sold "Albertype" postcards that were lithographic reproductions of hand-colored black-and-white postcards.
Clatworthy‘s association with National Geographic began in 1916. His first autochrome series appeared in the April 1923 issue. Titled "Western Views in the Land of the Best," it featured views of Colorado and the American Southwest. Clatworthy would not submit another series to Geographic due to the low amount of monetary remuneration (see section National Geographic and the Autochrome). However, once that situation improved, Clatworthy published an additional series beginning with the June, 1928 issue, "Photographing the West in Colors," followed by the August, 1929 series, "Scenic Glories of the Western United States." Another series appeared in July 1930, "Adventures in Color on Mexico‘s West Coast followed by a series in the July 1932 series called, "Colorado: Among the Peaks and Parks of the Rockies". The last series Clatworthy did for National Geographic was on California and appeared in November 1934: "A Sunshine Land of Fruits, Flowers, Movies, and Sport." By that point in time, autochromes were being replaced by newer color processes including Dufay, Finlay, Agfacolor, and, eventually Kodachrome.
Clatworthy would embark on an autochrome lecture circuit during the winter months when tourist season was virtually non-existent in Estes Park. Immensely popular, these lectures were delivered in all the principle cities of the US in front of crowds numbering from a few hundred to more than 3,000. It was in this endeavor, carried out over a number years, coupled with his many published autochromes that lead John Wood to declare Clatworthy "responsible for truly introducing autochromes to the American people."
Though Clatworthy was one of the most well known autochromists of his day, he, like many, if not most, of the other photographers who worked in the process, save for the Photo-Secessionists, have faded into an undeserved obscurity. This obscurity is not so much the result of the quality or importance of his work, but rather from the lack of attention photographic historians have in general paid to the autochrome process. When John Wood writes of Clatworthy, "There was no one like him in the history of the American autochrome; he was our Jules Gervais-Courtellemont" one cannot help but wonder if more than a handful of the most dedicated photo-historians know with whom he is being compared. Fortunately, the ease with which autochromes can be viewed on a computer monitor may signal a rise of awareness and interest. A chapter has been given to Clatworthy in John Wood’s The Photographic Arts (1997) and a new biography of Clatworthy by Richelle Cross Force is scheduled for release in 2006.
© Mark Jacobs 2006
Born in 1878 in France, a graduate of scientific and medical schools, Pierre Grange was an early adopter of the Autochrome process. From 1908 to 1938 he was an untiring traveler with his camera going through Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and France.
A scientific man, he stretched the capabilities of the Autochrome process, discovering for example how to push or slow down the development of the plate independently of the length of the pose.
In all, he took over 3,300 Autochromes during his many trips. Being a pioneer of the audio-visual, he lectured with projected Autochromes from his collection to the public at well attended shows."
© Philippe Grange - 2006 - firstname.lastname@example.org